September 10, 2010. In Port Townsend’s uptown district with lovely old Victorian houses and retail stores, we found a fabric sign for “The ReCyclery” hanging on a fence beside a gate. Inside was a spacious backyard lawn, with a lineup of used bicycles and a small shed. Chauncey and Dash Tudhope-Locklear warmly welcomed us in. Robyn quickly found the perfect backgrounds for our videotaping, and we pulled a bench over near the bike repair stand and started our chat.
These two young guys run an enterprise that is partly a business and partly an educational non-profit. They’ve turned the standard business model upside down: it’s not about bigger and more expensive gear, and making more money, they told me. They want bikes to be affordable and accessible to everybody. Many of the bikes they sell are used. Sure they repair bikes, but their eyes light up when they talk about teaching people.
That’s the non-profit part. Their mission is “Positive Social Change through Bicycles.” These guys are empowering others while contributing to a more sustainable, lower-energy world. Using bicycles.
They offer a weekly free bike clinic at their shop, where people can borrow the tools and learn how to maintain their bikes, or build one from parts. They run a bike class in the local elementary school for kids.
They’ve done bike clinics in neighborhoods. They did a farm tour, biking to various local farms and fixing the farmers’ bikes for free. They described hauling 200 pounds of tools in a trailer behind their bikes — and up and down the hillsides of Port Townsend. That’s hard work but they’re sure walking their talk (or should we say they’re biking their talk?).
“I want people to become ‘intimate'” with their bikes,” Chauncey says. “If people learn how to care for their bikes — like learn how to fix a tire — they’re more engaged to use them.”.
I was so touched by these guys! Their hearts are as big as all the world! Dash’s eyes light up as talks about loving to work with the kids. Chauncey talks about doing this for love.
They’ve set a goal of having half of Port Townsend using alternative transportation by 2050 (bus, carshare, bicycle, walking). I think they’re off to a great start.
P.S. And they got us off to a good start, too! Knowing that we’d be staying in Seattle for a few months, Robyn had been wondering where to locate used bikes for us to get around, just as she’d done for the 15 years she lived in Seattle.
We found our first bike right there at the ReCyclery. A used silver and black bike with a frame large enough for us long-legged critters. It felt like the perfect completion to a heartful conversation. What goes around comes around. [ptrecyclery.com]
Watch their show Changing the World One Bike Rider at a Time (episode 182).